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Prerelease:Harry the Handsome Executive

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This page details prerelease information and/or media for Harry the Handsome Executive.

Pre-Ambrosia

Initial Summary and Screenshot

Some of the first details on Harry come from Mixed Metaphor Software circa January 1997, before the game was picked up by Ambrosia. They include an early synopsis featuring pirates, superheroics, and possibly time travel:

Harry starts off performing routine missions such as retrieving reports while avoiding the boss. But the office mundanity soon comes to an end, when the building is attacked by vicious corporate takeover pirates! Armed with an industrial-strength staple gun, Harry must defend the only home he knows. Eventually he must take to the streets to clean up the city and take a bite out of crime. As the episodes progress, Harry finds himself in myriad times and places with only his swivel chair and his executive tan to protect him...

An official screenshot was also released in this period.

Harry the Handsome Executive (Mac OS Classic) - Gorge (Pre).jpg

The "Gorge of Eternal Peril" (a Monty Python and the Holy Grail reference) has no analogue in the finished game, but the details of this build can be compared:

  • Instead of a level title, there were a level number and a room title. The final game doesn't divide levels into rooms, although a mention that rooms can override a level's music survived in the World Editor.
  • All of the status boxes used a larger font.
  • The red "Comfort" bar was called "Comfort Meter", and the blue bar measured "Leg Power" instead of "Surface Resistance". All three bars were a pixel longer on the left.
  • The game's logo lacked a shadow.
  • Two of the plants were flipped and rotated 90° relative to the normal sprite.
  • The office walls were beige rather than red or blue, slightly thinner, and surrounded by a black void instead of tiling.
  • Most notably of all: in the final game, all levels are built out of 32x32 tiles, and walls can only be straight or angled 45°. The walls in this shot are angled in 22.5° increments, and the plastic runner on the floor is one large texture.

Later Screenshots

Another batch of screenshots soon followed, but only tiny JPEG thumbnails survived in the Wayback Machine.

The logo now has its shadow, but there's not enough detail to make out the status box fonts.

Level 3

Prerelease Final
Harry the Handsome Executive (Mac OS Classic) - Corner (Pre).jpg Harry the Handsome Executive (Mac OS Classic) - Corner (Final).png

This area would be remodeled, with a runner, different obstacles, and a connecting staircase.

Level 4

Prerelease Final
Harry the Handsome Executive (Mac OS Classic) - Cubicles (Pre).jpg Harry the Handsome Executive (Mac OS Classic) - Cubicles (Final).png

The final equivalent of this room is even bigger, but is home to only two robots, both gray.

Level 5

Prerelease Final
Harry the Handsome Executive (Mac OS Classic) - Triangle (Pre).jpg Harry the Handsome Executive (Mac OS Classic) - Triangle (Final).png

The area where you find the gold stapler was much more dramatic rendered in 22.5° angles. Its adaptation to the chunky grid of the later engine left it barely recognizable.

Level 6

Prerelease Final
Harry the Handsome Executive (Mac OS Classic) - Flames (Pre).jpg Harry the Handsome Executive (Mac OS Classic) - Flames (Final).png

The flame vents were originally going to be fed by overhead pipes, and (some?) areas underground had reddish floors.

Prerelease Final
Harry the Handsome Executive (Mac OS Classic) - Crossfire (Pre).jpg Harry the Handsome Executive (Mac OS Classic) - Crossfire (Final).png

Going by the final game, this starting point would have been the first appearance of the overhead pipes. It may have been designed to teach players that the piping can be passed under, by giving them nothing else to do.

The final adds a desk with a memo as an immediately visible destination.

This version of the World Editor had a very different sidebar interface, but the thumbnail is too small to decipher how it works.

Unknown Level

Harry the Handsome Executive (Mac OS Classic) - Asterisk (Pre).jpg

This location has no obvious analogue in the game.

Ambrosia Times Previews

May 1997

Level 5

Harry the Handsome Executive (Mac OS Classic) - Grates (Pre).png

Ambrosia's first preview retained the hallmarks of earlier shots, including named rooms ("Grate Expectations") and complex layouts using 22.5° angles. The final game contains nothing that resembles this area. The fonts in the status boxes do match up by this point, though.

July 1997

Just two months later, a second preview introduced the look of the final engine.

Level 3

Prerelease Final
Harry the Handsome Executive (Mac OS Classic) - Darts (Pre).png Harry the Handsome Executive (Mac OS Classic) - Darts (Final).png

Besides the obvious change of color scheme, there are minuscule differences:

  • A space in front of the right desk was retextured.
  • A thumbtack was removed from the "pile of thumbtacks" texture, giving it a more random look.
  • The final co-workers have some darker shading on their shoulders.

Level 4

Prerelease Final
Harry the Handsome Executive (Mac OS Classic) - Robots (Pre).png Harry the Handsome Executive (Mac OS Classic) - Robots (Final).png
  • A water cooler was added behind the robots.
  • The staple packs were moved to the corners of the table.
  • The hallway in the northeast where a copying machine can be found was expanded, making room for another mail cart to threaten you on your way there.
  • An alcove was added to the upper left of a room on the east side. It contains a vending machine and a box of donuts, guarded by a stationary robot.
  • One-way passages were added between the two corridors to the west and the two rooms to the northwest.

The editor itself changed too:

  • "Edit Physics..." lost its Command-P shortcut.
  • An Edit menu was added, and the Objects menu was replaced by Tiles, Sprites, and Create menus.
  • While the prerelease sidebar resembles the finished editor far more than our previous glimpses, the tile editing buttons are absent.

Level 10 (?)

Harry the Handsome Executive (Mac OS Classic) - Pool (Pre).png

There's only one water level in the published game. It's made of concentric circles, with the innermost containing that round hatch as the sole exit. None of it resembles the area seen above.

Level 11

Prerelease Final
Harry the Handsome Executive (Mac OS Classic) - Outpost (Pre).png Harry the Handsome Executive (Mac OS Classic) - Outpost (Final).png
  • The stapler in Harry's hand was made more prominent.
  • The texture of the rocks was made craggier, and their border artificially lightened so it's easier for the eye to follow.
  • The level name was changed from "Mountain Outpost" to "Temple of the Swivel Chair". The Temple and ScumCo's "faraway mountain outpost" are mentioned in the preview as distinct locations Harry will visit, but the final game combines them into the Temple and never mentions the outpost.

Undated Promotional Image

Level 4

Prerelease Final
Harry the Handsome Executive (Mac OS Classic) - Staples (Pre).png Harry the Handsome Executive (Mac OS Classic) - Staples (Final).png
  • This uncropped, full-size screenshot finally permits a good look at the prerelease ammo meter. It more strongly suggests staples, but it's harder to read at a glance.
  • The empty area to the right of the meter is textured differently. Almost imperceptibly, so are a few of the carpet tiles.
  • There's no gap in the shadow at the top of the screen for the ramp that connects to the neighboring room. This matches the level map seen in the July preview. (Harry's presence in a closed area, and the score of zero, imply that he was placed there with the editor for the sake of this screenshot.)